Thursday, April 26, 2007

As Seen on Historic Hotels of America's website...

Monmouth is proud to have been featured in Historic Hotels of America's latest newsletter featuring historic gardens of some of the country's most historic and prestigious gardens. Here's the excerpt:

At Monmouth Plantation in Natchez, Miss., spring is alive with color, just in time for the annual Natchez Spring Pilgrimage. Master Gardener Larry Stewart, has planted more than 10,000 spring bulbs since mid-December. While the total number of bulbs on the property is unknown, Stewart puts the estimate at more than 50,000. His favorites are the Big Eartha 25" tall tulip, the French Blend 30" tall tulip, the Lent Lily daffodil (circa 1200's) and Hoop Petticoat daffodil (circa 1629), just to mention a few.

Our Guests Say the Nicest Things...

What pleased you most during your recent visit :

Everything! It was our 25th wedding anniversary and we picked the right place to celebrate. We enjoyed the area, the house dinner there and the friendly service we recieved from everyone. As always there was a standout. Roosevelt, who I am sure you have heard about before. His kind way and enthusiasm is a gift to us all.

We are already planning a return visit so keep the lights on!

Jim & Vicki M.
Tallassee, AL

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

As Seen on

Dozen Distinctive Destinations
Natchez, Mississippi

With eight National Register historic districts, Natchez boasts a wealth of stately mansions, plus a diverse array of other buildings in styles from grand Greek Revival to simple shotgun. Visitors shouldn't miss the historic Under-the-Hill area beside the Mississippi River, which was the town's cotton-shipping center. The main portion of downtown, atop a bluff overlooking the river, includes shops, restaurants, a unique collection of historic religious structures, and the Museum of Afro-American History and Culture.

The 1818 Greek Rivial mansion home of General John A. Quiman, a Mexican War hero and early governor of Mississippi is now Monmouth Plantation, one of the National Trust’s Historic Hotels of America.

The year-round bounty of Southern hospitality includes the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, a Mardi Gras parade, the Opera Festival, a Juneteenth Celebration, and the famed spring and fall Pilgrimage to historic houses.

Just outside town, tours of the native Natchez Tribe's ancient ceremonial mounds and educational programs for children are available.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Getting to Natchez

Commercial passenger air service is available in Jackson (105 miles northeast), Alexandria, LA (69 miles west), Baton Rouge (86 miles south).

Monday, April 23, 2007

Natchez Fun and Games

Natchez Under-the-Hill, a riverside district of the town, was once infamous for the aristocrats and rogues who frequented its gambling houses. Now dockside gaming has returned to Natchez with a modern casino. In addition to gaming excitement, the casino also offers dining and entertainment.

Sportsmen will be delighted with the variety of game to be found in the surrounding wilderness. Whitetail deer, turkey, dove, squirrel, quail and rabbit abound in the Natchez area. Natchez State Park is considered to be home to some of the best bass fishing in the state, and the current state-record bass was hauled out of its 300-acre lake.

Two area golf courses give golfers a variety of doglegs and sand traps to perfect their swing.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Natchez Opera Festival begins next month!

Natchez Opera Festival, Inc.
17th Season, 2007

In cooperation with and supported byAlcorn State University Come and experience the hospitality of Natchez
and the Southeast's premier summer opera festival.
For more information log onto

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Natchez Symphony of Gardens Tour

May 4-5, 2007

The artistry and beauty of gardens are showcased during the Symphony of Gardens Tour when some of the finest gardens in historic Natchez will be on view, many for the first time. From elaborate estates to petite pocket and urban gardens. This is a unique oportunity to view some of the finest landscapes in this region.

Visitors will venture into classic and elegant gardens like the exquisite formal gardens at Glouscester Mansion, the colorful stroll gardens at Monmouth Plantation and the serene beauty of majestic Cottage Gardens. Visitors will view unusual water features at Barnes House, Paradise and The Orchard. Unusual plants, heirloom plants and new varieties of old favorites are displayed in the gardens according to each homeowner's preference.

Visitors will receive self-guided maps and garden details when tours begin. Docents will guide visitors at each of the 13 gardens on tour. A free shuttle bus will be available to tour participants on Saturday throughout the Natchez Historic District.

To celebrate the concurrent Natchez Festival of Music, live musical performances will take place at Monmouth and Cottage Gardens. Light refreshments will be served each afternoon during musical performances.

Gardens on tour are: Friday, May 4: Barnes House, Gloucester, Rosalie, Rosehaven, Smith Rose Garden, and Monmouth Saturday, May 5: Barnes House, Guido Garden, Miss Lucy's Garden, Paradise and The Orchard, the Prentiss Club, Marschalk-Spencer Garden, and Cottage Gardens

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Natchez Events

Natchez was recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2003. An assortment of festivals brings arts and special events to town. The month long May Opera festival pleases both opera critics and those who have never seen a live mezzo-soprano in their life.

Each February the Literary and Cinema Celebration focuses on a different topic and sponsors lectures and seminars by well-known filmmakers and authors. In October, the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race is three days of hot air balloon races, music and partying on the bluff.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Our Guests Say the Nicest Things...

Mrs. Lani,

We had such a great peaceful time. We have decided to make it a tradition every year in July to come to Monmouth for our anniversary. It was so peaceful.

After dinner on Friday, we almost fell asleep in the hammock by the lake. You should see my husband now. He gets up every morning and puts on classical music. We sat on the back porch and drank tea last night with the outside speakers on classical music. We never thought we'd get into that. Our kids who are 14 and 6 think we're acting strange. We just laugh. The music playing in the lounge and at breakfast is what did it to us. It's like we left the world as we knew it behind.

Again, you have the most wonderful staff. We want to tell you that Roosevelt was awesome. We loved him. We hope he will be there year after year. They don't get any better than Roosevelt. He really enjoys what he does. He was great. We have told everyone about Monmouth. We have friends coming in August to stay there. Keep up the good work. It was such a pleasure to meet you. You are a beautiful person. Hope to see ya in a year.


Melissa L.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Historic Homes

The most obvious examples of Natchez's history are the over 500 antebellum buildings still standing in the city. Many structures remain from the French, Spanish and English eras, and large areas of the downtown residential districts are completely Victorian or antebellum.

Every year, the city opens its doors for its Fall and Spring Pilgrimages. The Fall Pilgrimage lasts three weeks and the Spring Pilgrimage is five weeks long, during which time visitors come to town for special tours of the antebellum homes.

Throughout the months of November and December, Natchez hosts a Victorian Christmas with tours and productions celebrating the town's rich history.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Natchez History

Founded in 1716 high above the mighty Mississippi River, Natchez is the oldest city on the river - and it has the sights to prove it. Natchez has lived under five different flags, and once you see the view of the river it offers, you'll see why so many nations fought for control of the area.

The Natchez Indians first occupied the area, and their mark is evident to this day. Emerald Mound was constructed around 1300 A.D. Covering eight acres, it is the second-largest ceremonial mound in the United States. Many other mounds and the restored Grand Village of the Natchez Indians are great reasons to get out and explore the scenic surroundings of Natchez.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Mr. & Mrs. "W" from Bloomington write:

We were greeted by Hal who took us under his wings and made sure that our visit was memorable. He is a wonderful resource for Monmouth and truly represents the finest in Southern hospitality. The beauty of the house and grounds stand out above any we have experienced. God has certainly touched this place.

We also were well aware of the attention to detail at every turn. We felt welcomed as your personal guest. We also noticed that you are "hands-on" owners who work as long and as hard as anyone on the staff. We especially appreciated the verse quoted on your brochure from Joshua 24:15. It explains the presence of "Angels Among Us."

We left a photocopy of a letter written on August 18, 1863 by John Thornburn of the 76th Regiment Illinois Volunteers while camped in Natchez. We have determined that he must have been camped on the grounds of Monmouth when he said, "I am camped on a lot of the Richest man's in Natchez." If he could only see the place now! We will send another copy at a later date along with a few more written during his time in Natchez.

We hope to visit again soon. Our son is in his first year of teaching as part of the Teach for America program. He was assigned to the Mississippi Delta and now teaches Spanish at East Side High School in Cleveland. He graduated from Carleton College in Northfield, MN last June as a history major (Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa). His eyes have certainly been opened wide by his experiences in the classroom. We hope to visit him at least two more times before he completes his two year commitment.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Unique Shops and Antique Row!

The Best Shopping in Mississippi - Mississippi Magazine readers across the state named Natchez shops for the best antiques, the best collectibles, even the best shoes! And here's the kicker - most of it is right downtown so the walking is easy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Moonlight, Monmouth and Magnolias

Magnolias are the signature flower of the south. Natchez, as you might imagine, is famous for them and the sweet smell of their elegant blooms.

With our warm Southern climate, we start seeing blooms in May, and the beauty continues through June, so pack your camera and come on down!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Divine Intervention

We often hear people talk about faith…and it’s a very broad term. It can mean any number of things….Faith that someone will call, faith that your favorite team will win…and spiritually, the faith that you cannot see or touch…only feel.

I’d like to share a story about two people who were strangers, two completely different individuals, living on opposite ends of the United States (one from California and the other from Louisiana) and their own personal paths of spiritual faith.

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Nona.

In what was to be a simple vacation to a little town called Natchez, Mississippi in December 2003, it proved to be the catalyst of another one of God’s constant plans.

As my family and I took a long holiday weekend at Monmouth Plantation to view the exquisite, serene gardens and perfectly detailed antebellum home of Mr. Ron and Mrs. Lani Riches of California; we were transported back in time.

My sister (Stephanie) and her husband, Bobby, who were vacationing with my mother and I at that time refers to our weekend as the time when “the spell was cast”.

Our visit to the Riches’, Monmouth Plantation exceeded our expectations ten fold for a getaway. I’d have to say, it did more than that. It saved our lives.

You may ask how a cozy little vacation could have such a huge impact. Well, I’ll explain.

Natchez is a quiet and cozy little town, with rolling hills filled with manicured lawns and abundant blooming gardens.

The town is a must for tourists looking for a serene get-a-way, or for those looking to exhale. That’s not to say it’s so slow that it’s boring. It has a rich culture, deep heritage, period architecture, very colorful history and scenery, which have to be seen, to be understood.

Wherever you go and wherever you look, there is something to captivate every sense possible. The majestic live oak trees seem to emanate the whispers of stories and lives of times gone by. The Mississippi River rolls by silently below her 300 foot bluffs. And as we strolled through the gardens and grounds of this breathtaking historic home, you feel as though you’ve truly stepped back in time.

At Monmouth, (one of a handful remaining pre-civil war antebellum structures) we were always greeted by the friendly staff as if they had know us all their lives. When you say friendly, it’s a term you’d expect from any place serving the public. Well, at Monmouth, we felt as if we were home…amongst family. The owners (Lani & Ron) were there that weekend celebrating the holidays with their Los Angeles family and they mingled with the guests as if each person was a dignitary. They and their staff’s genuine warm-heartedness was not theatrical for the benefit of the guests…it can only be described as TRUE southern charm.

If you’ve never experienced (all at one time), genuine kindness, sincere appreciation or complete respect for your fellow man, then I must implore you to experience the power of God’s grace by making it your calling to visit one of his paradises called Monmouth..

I began this note by saying that our lives were saved, and I digressed a bit but I wanted you to get a fuller picture of how one person’s life/actions can touch another’s, or in my case, several others.

I use to live in New Orleans which is truer south than Natchez; but I must say, that Natchez, is truer Southern.

I’m a spiritual person, quiet about my beliefs, but one thing I can tell you is that the power of faith does touch lives.

By the grace of Mrs. Lani and her husband, Ron, and their wonderful staff in 2003, my family and I decided to invest in Natchez, by buying some homes for future retirement. For me that was supposed to be in 20-30 years, but as fate would have it…it would come only one and half years later.

Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi and Louisiana coastal parishes on August 29, 2005, and on that day, 21 family members of mine were completely homeless. We were wiped out. We had lost everything tangible that one possesses. The divine faith that I spoke of earlier is where this begins.

When I bought my home in Natchez, I thought I’d rent it until I retired and instead, we had a close scare with an earlier hurricane in 2004 and I decided to keep the house as a “hurricane house”.

Why, this decision? I can only say it was faith that directed me.

Without understanding why or how, I just did. I was a single income paying two house notes, two insurances, two utilities and struggling. But each month, I asked God to help me to be able to provide this safe-haven for my family and all our pets… I felt something was eminent, but could not say with exactness what it was that I felt/feared. And each month, under heavy odds, and blind faith I was able to sustain.

On the 29th of August, 2005 my struggle became crystal clear. It had been faith speaking to me softly. It told me to persevere even when logically my head was telling me otherwise…I just followed my gut, some call it blind faith and now the answer was clear. God had provided a safe haven for me and my family and our pets. A passage to safe harbor. And I owe it partly to The Riches and the staff at Monmouth.

I now live full time in Natchez in the house that I bought in 2003, which is just around the corner from Monmouth, and was able to meet Mrs. Lani one-on-one today on a completely different matter at a coffee shop.

As we talked business of another kind, it was our first official face to face meeting….and she said to me that she prays every day for God to guide her for others needs and to guide her in whatever direction he has planned since she cannot know everyone’s needs….and I told her that her prayers are answered! That my family and I are living proof that faith does exist and that what we do in our own personal lives does touch lives of other people, sometimes unknowingly... That as she spoke to God about her part in his plan, and by being a phenomenal innkeeper and by offering such a wonderful place for people to exhale from their chaotic lives; that her efforts directly affected our decision in 2003. By her and my own personal faiths a miracle happened. She was so touched by this chain of events she asked me to write a note for her website. And that was my story.

To Mrs. Lani and Mr. Ron, may I personally say thank you for all you do for this community and for mankind. You both are angels among us. May God continue to bless you, your family and all his dutiful servants. Thank you for helping me see how truly beautiful Natchez can be.


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Monmouth Court

Our lovely Monmouth Court is the perfect setting for your wedding reception or private party. Splashing fountains and flowering gardens add to the intoxicating appeal of our stately white-columned veranda. Nothing short of grand, our courtyard is magical in the moonlight with white lights twinkling at every turn.

Call us today to book your event!

Lani & Ron

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Another Satisfied Customer

I would like to comment on my stay at Monmouth on the above weekend. It was a wonderful experience, your staff was great!

We had the dinner on Friday night and it was delicious. On Saturday and Sunday morning we had the breakfast which also was delicious. I can't say enough good things about our stay and your staff. We will come back again.

Thank you for a great weekend at the Plantation.

Gary and Rox Vinet
Slidell, La.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Angels Among Us

Part of the peace and serenity you will feel as you stroll through the beautiful gardens at Monmouth is due to the angels you will encounter along your way.

Lani & Ron